2020-21Regular SeasonRound 20
January 15, 2021 CET: 18:00
Local time: 20:00 MEGASPORT ARENA

Barcelona reigns in Moscow

In a heavyweight battle atop the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague standings, FC Barcelona completed a fruitful trip to Russia by downing CSKA Moscow 75-88 at Megasport Arena on Friday. Barcelona had defeated Khimki Moscow Region in the Russian capital earlier this week and has now improved to 14-6 in the standings to stand alone in second place. Top-ranked CSKA dropped to 15-5 after registering its second home loss this season. Cory Higgins, who won two EuroLeague titles with CSKA, led Barcelona with 25 points. Alex Abrines added 19 while Nick Calathes had 13 for the winners. Mike James led CSKA with 18 points. Nikola Milutinov added 15 while Toko Shengelia and Darrun Hilliard each had 10 for the hosts. Barcelona led 41-42 at halftime, extending its margin to 56-64 after 30 minutes and then again to 62-75 to seal the outcome.

Milutinov's jump-hook and Shengelia's put-back gave CSKA a 4-2 lead. Calathes and Higgins stepped up for Barcelona but Milutinov and James kept the hosts ahead, 10-8. Shengelia scored in penetration, James added his trademark side-step fallaway jumper and both Milutinov and Kurbanov dunked, but Abrines struck three times from downtown to keep Barcelona within 20-17. Shengelia answered from deep and Milutinov inside but Calathes brought the guests within 25-20 after 10 minutes. Joel Bolomboy and Janis Strelnieks restored a 31-22 CSKA lead early in the second quarter. Bolomboy soon had a huge alley-oop dunk and Semen Antonov a fastbreak slam for a double-digit CSKA lead, 35-24. James downed a triple but Abrines and Rolands Smits kept Barcelona within 38-28. Calathes fed Smits for a reverse alley-oop slam and Higgins sank a jumper to make CSKA call timeout at 38-32. Abrines and Higgins then combined for 8 points in an 0-10 run that Artem Pustovyi capped with a layup to put Barcelona ahead, 41-42, at halftime. Milutinov gave CSKA a lead again with a jumper soon after the break but Abrines and Calathes took it back at 43-46. Higgins dunked and Adam Hanga found his first points to boost Barcelona's lead to 44-53. Bolomboy answered from downtown, getting help from James and Johannes Voigtmann to give CSKA hope, but Kyle Kuric sank a triple and Higgins added a three-point play for a double-digit Barcelona lead, 51-62. Voigtmann and James brought CSKA a bit closer, 56-64, after 30 minutes. Hilliard stepped up with a tip-in early in the fourth quarter but Higgins matched it with a step-back jumper and Sergi Martinez added a three-point play that kept the guests way ahead, 58-69. Hilliard kept pacing CSKA with back-to-back baskets but Calathes struck twice from downtown to make the hosts call timeout at 62-75. Barcelona found a new go-to guy in Pierre Oriola but Hilliard and Milutinov kept CSKA alive, 70-79, with 3 minutes left. Higgins took over with a wild three-point play and Abrines sank his fifth triple to seal the outcome, 75-85, with 1:30 to play.

Pivotal performer

Higgins had another great game in the Russian capital, this time against his former team, and made the difference in this game. He finished with 25 points on 9-for-13 two-point and 7-of-7 free throws shooting, adding 6 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and 6 fouls drawn for a PIR of 28.

Game-changing moment

CSKA kept its option open for 35 minutes, when it was still within 62-69. Calathes stepped up with back-to-back three-pointers, forcing CSKA to call timeout at 62-75. Nothing changed after that, as Barcelona remained focused to cruised to a high-caliber win.

Stellar stat

Barcelona simply shot the ball much better, especially from beyond the arc. The guests buried 12 of 27 three-point shots (44.4%) and limited CSKA to just 4-for-21 from downtown (19.1%). Barcelona has also shot the ball better from two-point range, making 52.9% to CSKA's 42%.

Did you know?

Calathes has won his third consecutive road game against CSKA. Calathes buried a game-winning three-point shot to give his former team, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens, a 77-78 road win against CSKA on March 15, 2019. Calathes had 18 assists to lead Panathinaikos to a 102-104 overtime in Moscow on January 3, 2020. He forced overtime with a shot from downtown, too. Calathes won with Barcelona on Friday, as well, getting 13 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists.

Next game

Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action for Round 21 on Friday, January 22. CSKA hosts Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul in a rematch of the 2016 EuroLeague Championship Game. CSKA won 96-101 in overtime behind 22 points from Final Four MVP Nando De Colo, who now plays for Fenerbahce. On the same night, Barcelona visits Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade.

Cory Higgins - FC Barcelona - EB20
Friday, January 15, 2021
Euroleague.net
Referees: BOLTAUZER, MATEJ; DIFALLAH, MEHDI; ROCHA, FERNANDO
Attendance: 3125 (Tentative)
By Quarter1234
CSKA Moscow25161519
FC Barcelona20222224
End of Quarter1234
CSKA Moscow25415675
FC Barcelona20426488
CSKA Moscow
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
3 BOLOMBOY, JOEL 12:29 7 1/3 1/1 2/2                 2 1 4
4 KHOMENKO, ALEXANDER 7:29   0/3     1   1           2 2 -2
5 JAMES, MIKE 31:25 18 5/8 1/6 5/5   4 4 4 1 2 1   3 5 20
6 HILLIARD, DARRUN 29:01 10 5/15 0/6   4 5 9 3   1 1 1 2 3 6
7 UKHOV, IVAN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
11 ANTONOV, SEMEN 7:04 2 1/1       1 1   1 1     1 1 3
13 STRELNIEKS, JANIS 16:50 4 1/3 0/2 2/2       4           2 6
17 VOIGTMANN, JOHANNES 15:13 5 0/4 1/2 2/2 5 2 7   1   1   2 1 8
23 SHENGELIA, TORNIKE 27:31 10 2/6 1/2 3/6 2 5 7 2   3   1 2 5 10
33 MILUTINOV, NIKOLA 26:18 15 5/6   5/6 5 1 6 1         2 5 23
41 KURBANOV, NIKITA 26:40 4 1/1 0/2 2/2   2 2 1 1   1   3 1 5
51 SHASHKOV, ALEXANDER DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Team           1 4 5               5
Totals 200:00 75 21/50 4/21 21/25 18 24 42 15 4 7 4 2 19 26 88
        42% 19% 84%
Head coach: ITOUDIS, DIMITRIS
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
FC Barcelona
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
2 WESTERMANN, LEO 4:33     0/1     1 1             1 1
8 HANGA, ADAM 14:16 7 1/3 1/3 2/3       1   1   1 3 4 2
9 BOLMARO, LEANDRO 0:31 3   1/1                       3
10 SMITS, ROLANDS 19:47 4 1/1 0/1 2/2   4 4     1 1   2   5
14 PUSTOVYI, ARTEM 13:19 2 1/2     2   2   1   1   3   2
17 BADJI, IBOU 3:12                         1   -1
18 ORIOLA, PIERRE 20:58 4 1/3   2/2 2 4 6 2   3     4 1 4
21 ABRINES, ALEX 29:50 19 1/3 5/9 2/2   2 2 1   2   1   1 14
22 HIGGINS, CORY 28:52 25 9/13 0/4 7/7   6 6 2 1 2     2 6 28
23 MARTINEZ, SERGI 22:44 6 1/2 1/1 1/1 3 2 5 1         4 4 11
24 KURIC, KYLE 15:20 5 1/1 1/2             1     3    
99 CALATHES, NICK 26:38 13 2/6 3/5 0/2 1 5 6 7   2   2 4 2 12
Team             3 3     1         2
Totals 200:00 88 18/34 12/27 16/19 8 27 35 14 2 13 2 4 26 19 83
        52.9% 44.4% 84.2%
Head coach: JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS

Head Coaches

ITOUDIS, DIMITRIS
CSKA Moscow
"Congratulations to Barcelona and my friend 'Saras'. They deserved to win. Until we had strength and we were, if I use the word, fresh, we were dominant and played good basketball. We opened the game very well but the fatigue today was obviously not on our side. It pretty much went this way with the momentum with 4:26 to go, if I am not mistaken, +12, then the run was 4-13 with turnover, turnover, basket and basket, turnover... So we turned over the ball three times consecutively and even though in the first half, you can see the numbers. We didn't have that many turnovers, and it cost us because each and every turnover, if you count that you don't have execution, you don't score and they score, this is a double point. You don't score, they score, this is minus 4. It happened consecutively three times and we accumulated all turnovers over there and instead of going to the halftime with a normal difference for us, we went in minus 1. We gave a fight, had a better ranking (PIR) than them, less turnovers, more assists and more rebounds but overall, the 4-for-21 shots from the perimeter is not our numbers."
JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS
FC Barcelona
"Congratulations to our players. We had such a bad start to the game. I was really scared that we were not well-prepared or something like this. At the end, with every quarter, we just became more solid and solid, which shows in the numbers. To leave CSKA in 16, 15 and 19 points in three quarters is extremely difficult. What to say? I think that in the second half we controlled a little bit the rhythm. In the first half, the rebounding battle was just lost by us. CSKA was really dominating. We solved that and luckily, we hit some shots, which was very important, the performance of our shooters. Basketball is always easier when you hit shots. The most important is the creation of Mike [ James]. We understand that Mike has the ball a lot of times and he is so difficult to guard. Of course, now Niko [Milutinov] and Toko [ Shengelia], they are putting historical numbers with their offensive rebounds and rebounding. Some differences that they had with the rebounding, against Milano and against other teams, was just... I have never seen these type of numbers in my career. You have to control Mike, obviously, and their rebounding power is just extremely difficult to deal with."

Players

HILLIARD, DARRUN
CSKA Moscow
"It's a tough loss. I know everybody expected a better game, but I think we fought. I think that it wasn't a game where we didn't give it our all. We just didn't hit shots. If you go and look at the statistics, I think we led in every category: rebounds, assists, turnovers, hustle and things like that, we led. But we just didn't hit shots, and the name of the game is whoever can put the ball in the basket more times than the other team, that's the winner. And that's what happened today."
HIGGINS, CORY
FC Barcelona
"It is always special here. Like I said, there were a lot of great memories for me here. It is great to see a lot of familiar faces but at the same time, we knew it was a huge game for us and all we were is focused to get the win. And thankfully, we came out on top again. It started with our fight. We came out pretty soft and we had to change our physicality. It didn't really matter what they were doing; we had to change our mindset and how we acted on the court."
MARTINEZ, SERGI
FC Barcelona
"We played hard as we know and that's it. I am really proud of my teammates and that's all. It is a huge victory because we know who CSKA is, but we have to play every game. Every game is different."